Teams of students from five colleges and universities in the state, including West Virginia University, will have the opportunity to work with engineers from NASA’s Independent Verification and Validation Facility on a Space Flight Design Challenge.

Working in partnership with the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, NASA IV&V is launching a program that challenges academic institutions to develop knowledge and gain experience in designing, building, launching and operating space-based vehicles.

The Consortium is housed in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at WVU. Other schools participating are WVU Institute of Technology, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Shepherd University and Marshall University.

“One of our goals is to advance education and knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics capabilities as they relate to space systems,” said Marcus Fisher, associate director of NASA’s IV&V Facility in Fairmont, W.Va. “In turn, we also hope to advance our program’s tools, domain knowledge and engineering methods by exploring what we hope will be game-changing technologies for NASA.”

Over the next academic year, the participating teams will take courses in their respective schools that deal with payload construction, testing and integration using a systems engineering approach. The long-term goal, according to Majid Jaridi, director of the Consortium, is to create a competition between the participating schools with an eye toward eventually creating a competition that will involve high school students and expand to a regional and national competition.

The first flight mission is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2013.



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CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon